FMCSA grants another exemption from 30-minute rest break reg

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Friday, October 02, 2015

Editor's note: This article has been modified to clarify that the rest breaks are still required for R&R drivers, they will just be able to count time not driving, but attending the load, as the 30-minute rest break.

Yet another motor carrier has petitioned for and successfully received an exemption from the mandatory 30-minute rest break requirement.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted a request from R&R Transportation Group to be exempt from provisions in the mandatory 30-minute rest break according to an Oct. 2 Federal Register notice, altering how the drivers will take and log the breaks.

The company filed an application for exemption from the rest break for drivers of its three motor carriers that haul security sensitive loads requiring constant attendance. The motor carriers – R&R Trucking, TNI USA and NEI Transport – haul a wide variety of security-sensitive materials ranging from weapons and ammunition to night-vision goggles, pharmaceuticals and radioactive material.

These types of loads require under the regs that the drivers keep the truck and cargo under constant observation to prevent theft or an “adverse security incident.” Drivers are then put in a Catch-22 of violating a regulation: Keep the load under observation while on-duty or take a mandatory 30-minute rest break.

The exemption allows drivers under certain loads requiring constant attendance to take their 30-minute rest break while attending the load. 

FMCSA has previously granted temporary, generally two-year, exemptions from the 30-minute rest breaks for motor carriers with drivers in similar situations. In fact, both the Department of Defense and Department of Energy have secured exemptions from the rest break for drivers hauling various security-sensitive loads for the agencies.

R&R's exemption is similar to one granted to concrete haulers who are allowed to take their 30-minute rest break while waiting in que to unload concrete. 

The FMCSA followed suit in the Oct. 2 Federal Register notice granting drivers of the R&R Transportation Group the same exemption. Drivers who have loads with mandatory constant observation requirements will be able to forgo the mandatory rest break. R&R drivers who have regular interstate freight that does not require constant observation will still be required to take the 30-minute rest break.

The exemption is good for two years.

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